First, from Mike Head at wsws.org June 12, 2018: ‘Demands grow that Australian government act to free Julian Assange’
Head writes that last Sunday one of Assange’s attorneys, Australian Jennifer Robinson, was on channel 7’s ‘Sunrise Weekend’ giving a 10-minute interview. He called it a significant break from the long media silence in Australian media on Assange’s seven year detention in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Robbins had apparently issued a clear message to the Aussie government to carry out its responsibility to an Aussie citizen and give him his freedom.
I’d tried, but failed, to find the interview both on youtube and on Channel 7’s site. He writes that her challenge came as an international movement to fight for the freedom of the courageous journalist who has done more for transparency regarding war crimes, mass surveillance, and regime change operations around the world. Now I’ll offer here that at their site, you’re able to see in the middle column just how hard the world wide socialists have been working to build that global movement. Back to Mike Head:
“One of the central demands of this campaign is that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government act immediately to secure Assange’s freedom and his right to return to Australia, with guaranteed protection from any US request for his extradition on conspiracy and espionage charges. These charges can carry the death penalty.
Robinson’s interview came three days after she accompanied two Australian consular officials to meet with Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought political asylum on June 19, 2012. The visit was the first made by Australian officials to the Australian citizen in the six years since he has been effectively imprisoned inside the embassy, denied the right to obtain medical treatment or sunlight and outdoor physical exercise.
In her “Sunrise” interview, Robinson posed the pressing question: “What diplomatic representation is the Australian government willing to provide to protect Julian Assange from the risk of US extradition?”
Robinson pointed out that the Trump administration had taken “a far more public and aggressive stance” against WikiLeaks and Assange than even the Obama administration, under which a Grand Jury indictment was made for Assange’s arrest.
Since Trump’s election, Robinson explained, key members of his administration had called for WikiLeaks to be “taken down,” and for ways to be found to prosecute Assange, regardless of the US Constitution’s First Amendment guaranteeing free speech.
“When will the Australian government, which is uniquely placed to provide a resolution to this case, step forward to provide assistance?” she asked.
Robinson said Assange was willing to “face British justice, but not the risk of US injustice.” He is prepared to face court for breaching his British bail conditions when Ecuador granted him political asylum, but must have a guarantee against extradition to the US.
Such a guarantee was “standard procedure,” Robinson said. “If the Australian government would come to the fore, the case could be resolved quickly.”
As Robinson emphasised, both US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, had made clear their intent to imprison Assange and shut down WikiLeaks, which Pompeo last year described as a “hostile non-state intelligence service.”
He goes on to say that threats against Assange escalated after the organization has released CIA Vault 7 documents which demonstrated massive capabilities to hack, covertly [and extraordinarily illegally and unconstitutionally, of course], surveil, and conduct cyber-warfare against US and planetary citizens.
“As the WSWS reported at the time, the documents indicate that the CIA has developed “more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses and other ‘weaponized’ malware” allowing it to seize control of devices, including Apple iPhones, Google’s Android operating system and devices running Microsoft Windows. By hacking these devices, the CIA can also intercept information before it is encrypted on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Weibo, Confide and Cloackman.”
He then reminds readers that Assange was further silenced on March 28, being allowed no communication with the world outside his virtual prisoners, no visitors save for legal counsel, and then steers us to an op-ed at New Matilda by human rights activist and attorney Kellie Trantor, which I did find: ‘Pressure Builds On Australian Government To Act On Assange Stalemate’, Kellie Tranter, June 12, newmatilda.com
Head brings the pithiest parts:
“She detailed documents, obtained by freedom of information requests, showing that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had refused to “seek to ‘resolve’ Mr Assange’s case.” Bishop’s refusal followed the February 2016 findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) that Assange was being arbitrarily detained by Britain and Sweden in violation of international human rights law.
On February 12, 2016 Bishop, a former lawyer, signed a Ministerial Submission stating “we are unable to intervene in the due process of another country’s court proceedings or legal matters, and we have full confidence in the UK and Swedish judicial system.”
Tranter disclosed two further statements from Bishop’s department, on June 7 and 8 this year, adhering to the refusal to act on the WGAD verdict, even though in May 2017 Sweden finally dropped its trumped-up “investigation” into the sexual assault allegations against Assange. Among the exposures made of the politically motivated and dubious character of these allegations was a detailed examination undertaken by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Four Corners” program on July 23, 2012 (see: “Sex, Lies and Julian Assange”). [<if you click the arrow under the video you can read the transcript.]
…and that given Sweden’s having dropped all charges against Assange, he’d be glad to answer the remaining, relatively minor, bail-jumping charges while in Australia. He adds:
“As a legal analysis published yesterday by the WSWS explained, both international and Australian law establishes that the Australian government clearly has the “discretion”—that is, the power—to take action against the United Kingdom in order to protect Assange, including, potentially, legal action in the British courts.”
“On May 28, the WSWS and the International Committee of the Fourth International called for international action to defend Assange and endorsed the vigil being prepared by WikiLeaks’ supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19, and other vigils being organised around the globe.
In the same statement, the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), with the support of journalist and film-maker John Pilger, announced a demonstration to be held at Sydney Town Hall Square on Sunday, June 17 at 1:00 p.m. The rally will demand that the Turnbull government honour its responsibilities to Assange and intervene to secure his right to return to Australia, with guaranteed protection from any US extradition request.”
From his hyperlink to 5/282018 above:
“We urge all defenders of WikiLeaks and of democratic rights to circulate information about the June 17 demonstration as widely as possible. Organisations that endorse and intend to participate in the demonstration should inform the SEP (Australia) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Endorsements will be published on the WSWS beginning tomorrow.”
I did manage to up solidarity vigils scheduled so far…around the globe here at classconscious.org; there may be other sites, but on these Twitter hashtags scheduled events in some locales are featured: #FreeAssange! and #Unity4Assange.
Now the title of this diary comes from ‘The Eerie Silence Surrounding the Assange Case’, June 9, 2018, consortiumnews.org, Dennis Berstein interviews John Pilger
By way of a teaser; Bernstein opens with:
“In a recent communication between Randy Credico, an Assange supporter, comic and radio producer, and Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, Assange’s fear of arrest and extradition to the US was confirmed by the leader of the Russia-gate frenzy.
Credico received the following response from Schiff after meeting the Congressman’s staff, in which Credico was trying to connect Assange with Schiff: “Our committee would be willing to interview Assange when he is in U.S. Custody and not before.”
Dennis Bernstein spoke with John Pilger, a close friend and supporter of Assange on May 29. The interview began with the statement Bernstein delivered for Pilger at the Left Forum last weekend in New York on a panel devoted to Assange entitled, “Russia-gate and WikiLeaks”.
But jeezum crow; I just found the Robinson interview on…WikiLeaks’ Twitter account. I’ll embed it in comments.
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)